Fogg still fighting to make rotation

Fifth spot in the rotation still in the air for Fogg

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The previous time Rockies right-handed pitcher Josh Fogg faced the Mariners, he faced the minimum 27 batters. He pitched a two-hit shutout last June 30, in a rare dominant performance.

Wednesday was more typical of a guy who produces, yet is constantly asked if he's good enough.

Fogg faced periodic trouble for 5 2/3 innings and wound up being charged with three runs against five hits and left with a one-run lead. The Rockies eventually lost, 7-4.

Performances like that have been good enough to give Fogg a career record of 50-51, with a 4.89 ERA and four seasons of double figures in wins, including going 11-9 with a 5.49 ERA for the Rockies in 2006. Thus far, Fogg has outpitched righty Byung-Hyun Kim in the race for the No. 5 rotation spot.

But with Brian Lawrence regaining health after missing last year because of shoulder surgery, and with prospect Ubaldo Jimenez expected to be ready soon, Fogg's longterm prospects are iffy. Only his $3.625 million salary makes him less of a trade prospect right now than Kim, at $2.5 million.

Fogg, 30, is accustomed to being a witness to other pitchers constantly auditioning for his job.

"When I was in Pittsburgh and I was a young guy they were bringing in old guys to take my job," Fogg said. "Now that I'm older, they bring in young guys to take my job.

"It's competition, and that's why we play the game. I've been on the good side of the competition for five years now."

With less-than-impressive raw stuff, Fogg wins by mixing pitches and hitting enough locations to get batters off balance. He has four pitches and needs to be sharp with at least three.

On Wednesday, he relied on his fastball too much early and gave up four hits to the first six batters, but yielded just one more hit.

"He knows what he wants to do, and when he executes he's effective," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He moves the ball around and is very effective when he can work the ball in.

"He needs to be able to [make in-game] adjustments a little more consistently to be [be the] pitcher he thinks he can be and we think he can be."

Fogg doesn't mind offering kind words to his competition.

"You can't pull against your teammate," Fogg said. "I told Brian Lawrence the other day, I didn't think there was a guy that worked faster than me in the big leagues, but he's on the mound and throwing it. That's the kind of pitcher everybody likes to play behind and the kind of pitcher I'd like to be."

Fogg understands what kind of pitcher he is. It's not a 20-win threat.

"I think I've been pretty consistent with winning 10-12," Fogg said. "I think the team wins the majority of the games I start [the Rockies were 16-15 in his starts last season], and that's the big thing for me."

Thomas Hardingis a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.